Francis Guillemard Simpkinson (1819-1906) was born in London on 26 May 1819, the younger son of the barrister Sir John Augustus Francis Simpkinson. He joined the Royal Navy as a first-class volunteer in March 1832, and served on H.M.S. 'Britannia' until March 1835. During this period he was employed for a short period on the 'Rainbow', which was commanded by his uncle Sir John Franklin. After leaving the 'Britannia', he served on 'Jupiter', before moving in October 1835 to the 'Sulphur', a surveying ship captained by Edward Belcher, engaged in a voyage around the world. During his time on the vessel Simpkinson travelled intensively in the Americas and assisted in taking synchronous pendulum observations. After serving on H.M. sloop 'Harrier' from June 1838 to July 1839, he returned to England, where he attended the Royal Naval College. This was followed by spells on H.M.S. 'Excellent', September-November 1843, and H.M.S. 'Albion', November 1843-March 1844. From September 1844 he worked at the magnetic laboratory at Hobart Town under Lieutenant Joseph Kay. While at Hobart Simpkinson painted landscapes, some of which formed part of the first public exhibition of paintings in Australia held on 6 January 1845. He returned to England in 1849, and later served on the 'Fisgard', 1854-1855, carrying out surveying duties. He retired from the navy in April 1870. In later life Simpkinson added de Wesselow to his surname. He died in London on 4 December 1906.
The volume contains logs of the daily proceedings of different vessels kept by F.G. Simpkinson, volunteer 1st class, subsequently midshipman, travelling mainly in the Mediterranean and off the Iberian Peninsula. There are different types of entry for whether the ship was sailing or was docked. The former give the wind direction and record remarks for a.m. and p.m. on the weather, the tasks Simpkinson was employed on, and the arrival and departure of other vessels. The latter give additional information, including course, distance, latitude and longitude, bearings and distance, and speed. Each log is preceded by a title page. The volume contains the following logs:
The log of H.M.S. 'Britannia' (Captain Peter Rainier C.B.), 15 March 1832 - 18 May 1833, recording this route: Spithead, Lisbon, Cascais Bay, Plymouth Sound, Hamoage, the Tagus, Cape Trafalgar.
The log of H.M.S. 'Britannia' (Captain Peter Rainier C.B., bearing the flag of Vice Admiral Sir Pulteney Malcolm G.C.B.), 19 May 1833 - 5 August 1833, recording this route: Cape Spartel, Malta, Besika Bay (spelt Bassika or Basikia in the log).
The log of H.M.S. 'Rainbow' (Captain John Franklin) and H.M.S. 'Britannia', 6 August 1833 - 23 March 1834, recording this route: at sea, Napoli di Romania, Phineka Bay, Smyrna, Vourla Bay, Malta Harbour. Simpkinson transferred from the 'Rainbow' to the 'Britannia' late in October 1833, when both vessels were at Vourla Bay.
The log of H.M.S. 'Britannia' (Captain Peter Rainier C.B.), 24 March 1834 - 14 February 1835, recording this route: Malta Harbour, Napoli di Romania, Vourla Bay, Smyrna, Vourla Bay, Mytelene Bay, Vourla Bay, Malta Harbour, Vourla Bay, Malta Harbour, Gibraltar Bay, Spithead, Portsmouth Harbour. The title page for this part of the logs describes Simpkinson for the first time as midshipman.
The log of H.M.S. 'Jupiter' (Captain Edward Henry A'Court), 4 March 1835 - 21 May 1835, docked throughout at Woolwich.
The log of H.M.S. 'Sulphur' (Captain Frederick William Beechey), 10 October 1835 - 24 January 1836, at Portsmouth Harbour until 23 December 1835, subsequently at sea, the last entry given at the Equator.
Transferred from the Department of Geography, April 1969.